Verizon Pays $125 Million After Telephone Pole Paralyzes Woman

The pole had not been inspected for over 20 years.
Verizon Credit: Northphoto / Shutterstock
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A neglected telephone pole is costing Verizon $125M according to a report by WNBC in New York. Verizon is paying out this lump sum to the family of a Union City woman. She was seriously injured by the telephone pole when it fell on top of her in 2017.

According to a lawsuit, the telephone pole in question snapped and hit Maria Meister as she was waiting for a bus. Meister was commuting from Union City to her job in New York. The pole struck her head and torso causing a severe brain injury and spinal damage that has left her paralyzed from the chest down.

Records obtained as part of the lawsuit showed that the pole was supposed to be replaced in 1999 by Verizon. Energy company PSE&G had its equipment on the pole, but the company removed it in 1999.

PSE&G allegedly asked Verizon to remove its hardware from the pole and remove it. According to the lawsuit, Verizon ignored that warning and left its equipment on the pole until it fell in 2020. The broadband provider also failed to inspect the pole for over 20 years.

A settlement in the case was inked on Monday before the suit went to trial. As part of the judgment, Verizon must pay $125 million in damages while PSE&G, which still jointly owned the telephone pole, was required to pay $250,000. Verizon accepted responsibility for the accident and compensated Meister without fighting against the suit.

In an email sent to WNBC, Verizon spokesperson Rich Young extended his consolation to Meister and her family. “While no amount of compensation can make up for what was lost, we hope the resolution of this case helps bring some measure of comfort, and provides care for Maria and her family, now and in the future,” writes Young.

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